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Inverness murder victims Renee MacRae and son Andrew 'will not be forgotten'

By Andrew Dixon

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Andrew and Renee MacRae.
Andrew and Renee MacRae.

Highland journalist David Love followed events surrounding the murders of Renee and Andrew MacRae for more than four decades. He speaks out on the first anniversary of the conviction of their killer

Bill MacDowell.
Bill MacDowell.

It’s the first anniversary of the conviction of Bill MacDowell today – but it is one that is tinged with sadness and frustration for me but more so for his victims’ family.

His lover, Renee MacRae and her three-year-old son Andrew – also MacDowell’s son – still have not been found.

That most evil of men who could kill his own bloodline took the secret of where they are to his grave.

He only spent five months in prison before dying in a Falkirk hospital from various ailments which wracked his body.

I doubt if many shed a tear at his passing, apart perhaps from his two daughters. They are also innocent victims of MacDowell who deceived them all his life for his own selfish reasons.

It was back on November 12, 1976 that Renee and Andrew were murdered by MacDowell, probably in the same lay-by where he set fire to her BMW to try and destroy evidence.

I covered the story from that day and now nearly five decades on, I am still writing about it, in the hope that some tiny piece of information may come to light to point the police in the direction of their remains.

To their credit, Detective Chief Inspector Brian Geddes and what remains of the big taskforce put together to bring MacDowell to justice, have still not given up hope of giving the MacRaes a decent burial.

Even now, they are drawing up a list of possible disposal locations which may be investigated further if one or more are deemed viable possibilities.

The recent documentary by Firecrest and directed by Matt Pinder was an eye-opener for those who do not know what goes on in the corridors of a court building.

It was equally engrossing for me despite knowing most of what was about to be given as evidence to convince a jury of MacDowell’s guilt. The two episodes were measured, solemn, fair and never sensational – respectful. Exactly how this should have been presented.

The judge called their murders “executions” and that was what they were, cold blooded, callous killings which were carried out to protect MacDowell’s secret.

He went on to live a full life and I take pride that I never let him forget what he did by writing about the case as often as I could.

David Love.
David Love.

However, it is not about me, it is about Renee’s sister Morag Govans, Andrew’s older brother Gordon, Renee’s best friend Val Steventon and other close family and friends. They are still suffering from the lack of knowledge of their whereabouts and the absence of a place to go and grieve.

But much much more, this is still about Renee and Andrew who may never be found. Wherever you are, you will not be forgotten.

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